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Staffmark settles EEOC lawsuit for $100,000

July 16 2013

Staffmark Investment LLC will pay $100,000 to end a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit alleged that Staffmark violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it terminated a woman with a prosthetic leg because of her disability. 

Staffmark assigned Dorothy Shanks to work on a temporary job inspecting Sony televisions at an Ozburn-Hessey Logistics facility in Romeoville, Ill., according to the EEOC. According to the complaint, a Staffmark employee told Shanks on her second day at work that she was being removed from the work site because they did not want anyone to bump into her or knock her down. The EEOC alleged that the employee told Shanks that Staffmark would find her another placement, but she was never sent on another assignment following her termination from the facility.   

The EEOC also sued Sony, based on allegations that its manager requested Shanks’ removal from the assignment. The case against Sony is still pending.

“The law is clear that no staffing agency of any kind may safely comply with any client’s discriminatory request,” said John Rowe, the EEOC district director in Chicago. “If the EEOC is in the picture, such compliance may prove far from a good business decision, but rather a short-sighted and costly one.”

The consent decree settles the suit against Staffmark and provides $100,000 in monetary relief to Shank. It also requires Staffmark to report all employee complaints of disability discrimination at two Chicago-area facilities to the EEOC for the next two years, train all its supervisory and managerial employees at those facilities on the prevention and eradication of disability discrimination, and adopt new policies regarding anti-disability discrimination. The decree also provides that Staffmark cannot require Shanks to keep the facts underlying the case confidential, waive her rights to file charges with a government agency, or refrain from reapplying for work with Staffmark or any of its clients.


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